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New govt. notification promises to protect children’s health and requires the Indian paint industry to be more responsible

New Delhi, 4 November, 2016: Toxics Link welcomes the new mandatory Regulation of Lead Contents in Household and Decorative Paints Rules, 2016 by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.  Leaded paints are a significant cause of lead exposure especially in children. The new regulation will help in safeguarding the health of vulnerable children and mothers.

“This is an extremely progressive standard and has factored in a lead time of one year, enabling manufacturers to make this shift possible, “said Satish Sinha, Associate Director, Toxics Link.

Toxics Link identified lead in paints as a very critical issue of toxicity in 2006, and since then has conducted numerous studies and published several research reports to eliminate lead from paints. The Indian paint industry has had high levels of lead which also reflected in consumer products like toys which use them. Globally lead in paint has been disallowed in Europe and the US for several decades, while it is still used in many developing countries.

The Toxics Link campaign had resulted in larger paint companies removing lead from paints by 2014. However a study conducted by Toxics Link in 2015 indicated that even today paints manufactured by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) had high lead levels, way above the prescribed limit of 90 ppm by the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS). This will now help a rapid changeover to safer paints.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), lead exposure is estimated to account for 6,74,000 deaths per year, with the highest burden in low and middle-income countries. Scientific evidences have also established that children and pregnant women are most vulnerable, as very low levels of lead in blood can also be harmful. Lead exposure has significant effects on the nervous system, and the potential to cause brain damage and even death.

“For decades the paint industry has been ignoring the irreversible impacts of lead on the health of children. Finally, India joins the world in making it mandatory for paint and products which use them to comply with global practices of lead free paints. This new Rule is a welcome move in the right direction, and will pave the way for a safer childhood," said Ravi Agarwal, Director, Toxics Link.

Highlights of the new rules:

The new rules prohibit the manufacture, trade, import and export of household and decorative paints containing lead or lead compounds in excess of 90 parts per million  (ppm).

Decorative and household paints manufacturers will have to label their paints stating that the lead contents do not exceed 90 parts per million. The label shall contain the name and address of the manufacturer or importer and date of import.

Household and decorative paints manufactured or imported before the date of commencement of these rules shall be permitted for sale for the next two years from the date of such commencement.

The compliance and testing procedure shall be prepared and published by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), with the help of certification agencies within six months from the date of commencement of these rules.

Every manufacturer or importer shall subject its product every year for testing of lead content before bringing out its product in the market, from any one of the authorised agency.

Central Power Research Institute (CPRI), testing agency will have to submit their test reports to the nodal agency for verification and action as may be required.

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For further information, please contact

Dr. Prashant Rajankar                                   Prerna Changkakati
Programme Coordinator                               Coordinator - Communication
prashantrajankar@toxicslink.org                  prerna@toxicslink.org

About Toxics Link: Toxics Link is an Indian environmental research and advocacy organization set up in 1996, engaged in disseminating information to help strengthen the campaign against toxics pollution, provide cleaner alternatives and bring together groups and people affected by this problem. Toxics Link’s Mission Statement is “Working together for environmental justice and freedom from toxics.” We have taken upon ourselves to collect and share both information about the sources and the dangers of poisons in our environment and bodies, and information about clean and sustainable alternatives for India and the rest of the world”.
 

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